This offseason, the Lions decided to cut ties with Devon Kennard, despite him being a vocal leader of the defense. To many fans’ dismay, however, they did not appear to replace Kennard during free agency. They did add Julian Okwara in the third round of the NFL Draft, but it was clear he was more of a long-term project.
Instead, it has been his brother, Romeo Okwara, who has stepped up in a big way in 2020. Through seven weeks of the NFL season, Okwara is now knocking on the door of being a top-10 edge rusher in the NFL. Yes, I am serious.
He may only have 4.0 sacks on the season, but his pressure rate is outstanding. According to ESPN’s pass rush win rate metric—which tallies a “win” every time the defender beats his blocker in 2.5 second or less—Okwara is now 10th among all edge defender. Per PFF’s Pass Rushing Productivity (PRP) statistic—which combines sacks, hits and hurries—Okwara is tied for sixth in the league. And his overall pass rush grade is a solid 71.7 (20th among edge defenders)
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